Gifted Cluster

Discussion in 'General Education' started by princessbloom, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. princessbloom

    princessbloom Comrade

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    Jan 5, 2016

    For those of you who teach in a gifted cluster model (all day, same students, in ALL subject areas), can you help me out?
    I am really struggling. I've taught Gifted previously, but we had an inclusion class so I taught Gifted, ESE, ESOL and regular Ed. My Gifted kids were not pulled out. I have my Gifted endorsement, and I have all of these ideas and projects, but struggle when it comes to doing what I want to do AND still teaching to all the standard I have to teach. I have a friend who teaches Gifted but she does it as a pull out once a week and really doesn't have to adhere to specific standards as much. At my old school with the inclusion model, I did enrichment projects once a week for an hour.

    I have the sweetest kids this year (I teach 3rd) and they range from 4-9th grade reading levels. They're amazing, and sweet, and smart, but I really want them to be having fun! They begged me today if we could have 30-40 minutes of uninterrupted reading time every day. I would LOVE to give this to them, but our schedule is jam packed and we have ENRICHMENT where we switch classes for 30 minutes every day. Couple that with ELA, Math, Science/Social Studies (alternating days), and I don't know how to fit it in for them. :( I'd love to do coding with them, more engineering projects, etc.
    I asked our Gifted head at county about how other teachers do it at different schools and all she could tell me was that every teacher was different, and there' s no right or wrong way. :(
    I asked my principal if I could go shadow another cluster teacher at a different school and she said it wasn't in the budget to hire a substitute.

    How do you do it? Still teach to the standards (at an accelerated pace, of course) and still do MORE, to stretch them in a super fun way?
     
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  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Jan 6, 2016

    I teach high school, so it may not apply to your situation. My actual pacing isn't that different because I go more in depth with the material than is required by the standards. I do end up with 3/4 extra days at the end of the semester where I teach a unit or two that aren't included in the standards at all.

    I provide options with assignments so students can challenge themselves if they like.
     
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  4. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    Jan 6, 2016

    Rather than trying to add in enrichment types of projects and such, I would teach the standards in ways that appeal to gifted learners, with opportunities for independent exploration, cooperative learning, etc. Also, if having time for independent reading, engineering projects, coding, etc. is important, then I would schedule it into the day and make it a priority. If you end up with only 45 minutes for math, do as much as you can with the assigned standards during those 45 minutes, but don't let it take away from the time you have scheduled for something else.
     
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  5. princessbloom

    princessbloom Comrade

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    Jan 6, 2016

    Agree.

    In a lot of ways, I think I am struggling because my hands are tied. Our P wants us to continue to use the textbooks (even though I wouldn't even want to TOUCH them with a REGULAR Ed classroom) and she wants us to try to align with as much with the regular kids as possible. It's just hard to do that, and reach my kids, while continuing to work on their EP goals.

    I like the idea of condensing subjects to fit in what I'd like to. Never thought about that because I feel like it's pounded in our heads to teach math for a fully hour, but I can ask for forgiveness later. ;)
     
  6. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Jan 6, 2016

    I'm a 3rd grade G/T teacher, also. I'm heading to bed now, but I'll type some stuff up tomorrow.

    First thing that I'll say... if you're principal is expecting you to teach gifted kids like they are regular kids, then you're wasting their time.
     
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  7. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Jan 6, 2016

    Instead of condensing entire subjects, can you teach the lesson in a condensed way, and then offer extension activities? For example... Reading Lesson 3.2 is supposed to take 60 minutes, but your kids catch on quickly. For 30 minutes, do a mini lesson and give them practice time to show they know what they're doing. Then, for the other 30 minutes, provide another standards-based activity, reading workshop, or independent reading time. That way, you've still done Lesson 3.2 on the same day as everyone else, but you've also added other things that your kids enjoy and benefit from. The next day, you can move on to Lesson 3.3 and repeat. You're still on track with the rest of the grade level.

    If you're required to teach, say, 60 minutes of reading, you probably shouldn't cut it down to 30 minutes of reading and then add in an engineering activity. I doubt most principals would like that, and there might be state or district regulations that require certain subjects to be taught for certain amounts of time. But, if you can teach what you're supposed to teach as well as provide an additional activity in that subject, it might work out okay.
     
  8. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Jan 6, 2016

    Not all gifted students are gifted across the curriculum. I am thinking of the TV show Scorpion - the skill sets of these children may be in math, science, art, music, computer coding, or accelerated reading levels. I think this is the reason that gifted programs struggle to meet the needs of all of their participants.
     
  9. MissMae

    MissMae Rookie

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    Jan 9, 2016

    I have Gifted kids in my class and this is what I usually do for all subjects. Before teaching any unit I give everyone a pre-test. I try to include several upper level challenge questions. If the Gifted kids ace the pre-test then I plan several inductive based learning projects for them to finish as a group. If they do well, but don't ace, then they stay with me for lessons, but go off for challenge work after. They stick with the units, but everything is geared for upper levels.

    If your gifted kids want 30-40 minutes of reading time, then I say let them! You can set up literature circles for them to do during Guided Reading, which would help them dig deeper into the text and work together. For math they can use Khan Academy for skills, and apply those to projects. I always give my Gifted kids parameters, but free reign for solving. I only need to visit them a few times to help set up, and then they come to me when they need me.
     
  10. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Jan 9, 2016

    My day:
    90 minute Language Arts block, plus add‭itional time here and there. My students spend significant amounts of this time either independent reading or free-writing. This is reasonably well-structured. I'm not dictating to kids what they have to be doing, but they owe me a reading response weekly, and they also owe me evidence of writing (for different kids, this is different expectations. Some of my kiddos might give me a front page rough draft... other kids give me a five page final draft with accompanying illustrations). While this is going on, my principal expects me to do guided reading groups, because guided reading is TOTALLY meant for kids reading multiple years above grade level (sarcasm). Since doing guided reading with my group would be a waste of their time and mine, I actually do reading and writing conferences with my kid, and always keep a handy-dandy guided reading lesson ready for those times when an administrator walks in and I don't feel like defending myself. I do... very, very little with the actual Language Arts standards, in terms of comprehension. We do the research skills, dictionary skills, etc., but I don't ever explicitly teach whole class lessons on story elements, for example (again... waste of everybody's time). My Language Arts is largely a modified version of the SEM-R program, pushed by UConn. My mini-lessons tend to focus more on vocabulary and research-like skills. I also find about twenty minutes a day for a read-aloud. This is not during my Language Arts block, but instead during various breaks in the day.

    Math- 60 minutes a day officially, but I can usually squeeze an extra ten minutes in. I teach fourth grade math, and fill in third grade standards as necessary. This is the place where my class is closest to the general population, albeit a grade level higher. Truthfully, I'd rather be able to stick with third grade standards and do more enrichment/extension activities within the third grade curriculum, but my evaluation is based off a fourth grade math test, so they learn fourth grade math. If I were you, and administrators wanted you to walk in lockstep with the third grade team, I would teach the correlated fourth grade standards that align to the third grade standards your team is teaching.

    Science- Here's where we have a lot of fun. I fit in engineering projects, a lot of experiments, and this is where we really get into some of the cool stuff. I fit a lot of the typical science standards in through language arts, which leaves me time in science to extend and enrich.

    Social Studies- I can't help much there... my teammate does social studies. Sorry.

    My school also has a 30 minute intervention/enrichment time built in. I do a lot of free-choice enrichment during this time while I'm working with struggling students (usually that are struggling with math). This is the time in my day where kiddos who are interested in coding would be able to do so, etc.
     
  11. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Jan 9, 2016

    Do you expect silence or a quick whispered this whole time - no conversations?

    ETA: I love this model.
     
  12. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Jan 10, 2016

    My kiddos are voracious readers, and I have approximately 800 books in my classroom library. They handle keeping things quiet on their own. There's usually a bit of a dull roar in the room, but that's from them wanting to share about what they are reading, and I generally pretend like I don't hear it.
     
  13. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Jan 10, 2016

    Awesome. Thanks. :) If I could do anything with my class, I'd like to do this. I strongly feel like the best way for kids to become better readers is to read, read, read. However, we have a basal and are expected to use it, and getting through that takes up all of our class time.
     

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